Wis. Planned Parenthood Clinics To Resume Medication Abortions

June 13, 2013 — Planned Parenthood clinics in Appleton, Madison and Milwaukee will resume offering medication abortions after a judge issued a temporary injunction blocking portions of a state law (Act 217) restricting the method, the Wisconsin State Journal reports (Simmons, Wisconsin State Journal, 6/11).

Under the law, physicians and patients have to meet several requirements before a medication abortion, including the completion of three office visits and multiple steps to verify that the woman is seeking the abortion voluntarily (Women's Health Policy Report, 2/12).

In December, Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit arguing that the law was unconstitutionally vague (Wisconsin State Journal, 6/11). According to the suit, physicians who fail to follow the requirements can be subjected to criminal charges, civil penalties or disciplinary action. The suit argued that the law does not clearly spell out what physicians must do to comply with the requirements and should be struck down.

In February, PPWI and the Wisconsin Department of Justice reached an agreement to clarify how the law will be interpreted so that doctors would know whether they are in compliance. However, a federal judge dismissed the proposed agreement because it would end the constitutional dispute in the case and thus place the matter outside of her jurisdiction. PPWI later refiled the suit in Dane County Circuit Court (Women's Health Policy Report, 2/12).

In April, Dane County Judge Richard Niess issued a temporary injunction barring the state from enforcing the law's requirement that a physician must be physically present when a woman takes medication abortion drugs and must conduct a private consultation to ensure she is seeking the procedure voluntarily.

Huyck said, "This is a significant step in the right direction recognizing that medical professionals should be trusted to determine the safest and best medical care for patients" (Wisconsin State Journal, 6/11).